Friday, November 5, 2010

Update on the Saga of Mom

Some of you have been following the saga of my mom so I thought I'd update you.  I talked to Steve's sister Wednesday and she was like, "I didn't know your mom went home!"  So here's the latest.

As you know, Mom has been at The Glen since July because she fell off her porch trying to pick up the newspaper and spent two weeks in and out of the hospital, part of it in ICU. I loved The Glen!  Those people are awesome and I'm thinking of reserving my room in the Independent Living section already!  It's lovely there and the staff just goes above and beyond.

So Mom's rehab stay reaches its end and her discharge date looms.  She decided that last Friday was the day she was leaving.  She was ready "to go home."  She's still dependent on the walker, and The Glen would have liked for her to stay longer and continue therapy, but when Mom makes up her mind...

So the lovely Jennifer at The Glen sends me an email last Friday.  "Your mom's discharge date isn't actually until Monday..."  I emailed right back, "Uh....I'm not tellin' her that.  Nope.  Not me."  Chicken.

My brother, Hutch, who has kindly agreed to move in at Mom's and be her caretaker, had been over at Mom's all week cleaning and helping get things ready for her to move back in.  He called me one evening and said, "If Mom had seen what I just saw, she'd NEVER come back to this house."  He'd found a dead mouse in a glue trap.  You remember the glue traps?  I left them all over the place after our last rat fiasco, a story I told here in four parts.

On Friday I get to the Glen at about 3:30 and there's mom, in her wheelchair, purse in lap, waiting.  Ready.  I'm like, "Wait mom.  I've got to sign paperwork and get meds."
I loaded her stuff in the car (she'd been packing for a week) and aftter 45 minutes or so I got everything handled and we were out of there.  We aren't ten minutes out of the parking lot before she's like, "Do I have Tylenol at home?"  (My sister says mom is the only woman she knows that buys a 500 count bottle of Anacin, throws the cap and the cotton away so she can get to 'em faster.)  She can't take Anacin anymore but Tylenol is the next best thing.

"Yes mom, you do."

"Do I have whiskey?"

I said, "I thought you'd quit drinking, Mom!"  She hasn't had one of her 'cocktails' since going to The Glen in July.

"I'm sure going to have one tonight!"

I get her to the house and Hutch and Steve are outside moving the new fencing materials around that Lowe's has dropped off.   Hutch  has a dog and has to finish enclosing Mom's backyard.

We get Mom and all her stuff inside and she sits on the couch.  And smokes.  "I want to see my mail."

"What mail?"  I've paid all the bills; have done so for the past four years.

"My mail!"  So I get the stack of insurance and hospital paperwork that's been pouring in since July and let her look at that; she gets it all out of order, starts discarding stuff, and I'm furiously digging it out of the trash.  I take it away from her and put it back up. 

Meanwhile, Steve notices the flood in the kitchen.  The hot water heater has decided to bust.  By now it's after five, of course (5:10 to be exact), but I call the plumber.  Steve and Hutch are mopping up the floor with Mom's heavy, white spa towels and we wait on the plumber.

Mom orders a drink.  she tells Hutch how to make it (a jigger and a half of bourbon and a splash of water).  I tell Hutch how to REALLY make it (3/4 jigger of bourbon, mostly water and no "tired ice).  Mom weighs 92 pounds, up from the 83 she was before going into The Glen.  She doesn't need to be sipping on much whiskey.

She has her drink, the plumber comes, and Hutch starts cooking chicken pasta for dinner.  I said, "Mom's not gonna eat that."  She's picky.

The plumber arrives, starts yanking the hot water heater out and water is everywhere.  Hutch is cooking.  I'm into the Sam Adams by now.

I told Steve, "At some point we've got to get someone to change the light bulb on the front porch.  It's out."

Mom said, "Sunshine's gonna come change WHAT?!"  Sunshine was Mom's CNA at The Glen.  An angel, that girl. 

Steve changed the light bulb.

Hutch cooks.

Mom drinks.

The plumber cuts the water off, of course, to switch out the new hot water heater.  Mom orders another drink and Hutch has this figured out already.  He'd made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her and she told him furiously,  "I'm not going to EAT this EARLY!"  even though she ate at The Glen at 4:30.  He told her she wasn't getting another drink until she ate.

She scowled.  Furious.

Hutch told Mom that the plumber had cut the water off and she couldn't have another drink for thirty minutes until the water was back on.  She said, "Never mind, I'll take it with coke." He makes her wait 30 minutes before bringing it to her anyway.

Meanwhile, the two plumbers are cracking up and think they've landed in a Woody Allen movie.  One, Brad, says "Man!  They'll both be crazy within a week!  Hey, I can cut that water back on if you need it..."  and we all shout, "No!  That's okay!"

Mom starts working on the sandwich.  She eventually finished it, Hutch gave her her meds, and Steve and I made our exit.

Bless her heart, she's sweet as can be and I know she's glad to be back in her house.  But the rest of us may not survive this!

She's been home a week now and she and Hutch have not killed each other yet.  They seem to be doing fine.  It's a good thing he's easy going because she is cranky as all get out about half the time.  He'll try to do something for her, like dry towels, and she's all, "I didn't WANT you do to that!"  Or he'll try to water the plant, "Don't do that!  Pat's the plant person!"

It's working out, so far, though and we have our fingers crossed.


Charlene said...

I think when we get old and are dependent on someone, when we've been independent all our lives, we get cranky in an effort to be in control in some small way. This is a generalization and based on my experience with Mom. Good luck to ya'all and bless you for taking care of your Mom.

sheryl said...

glad your mom is home. bless her heart! funny homecoming story. maybe the hot water heater was a god thing to get strangers in the house so you laugh in a stressful situation. thank god the water heater didn't start leaking when no one was around!

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Glad your mom is home and feisty as ever. I have a couple of grandparents who are both 91. And they are quietly feisty. Plus they have family nearby to check on them.

Hutch said...

This is a pretty good portrait of what's going on in Hell on Earth and as accurate as Pat is in her description of her Mother it really hasn't been too bad. She gives me my space, fusses when I bring her food (but she eats it), and tells me I drink too many cokes and smoke too much!! I just tell her to be quiet or I am gonna go home and she can go back to the GLEN..that works.
Now if I can just figure out how to get my weekly lay in and out of the house without her knowing things will really be cool

Laurence L. said...

Funny tale...Hutch, re your el lay, just have her dress up like a nurse, or better yet, a merry maid? How 'bout a female plumber? You'll be all right. Be sure and crank those Klipschs!